Grandfather’s words help Werribee student shine on the global stage

Pranshu Patel’s grandfather had a saying: “God gave us a brain, so why waste it? Why not use it for the world?”

Pranshu, 18, took it to heart and worked hard to achieve a score of 42 in his International Baccalaureate results released on Monday, the equivalent of a VCE ATAR score of 99.1.

Werribee Secondary College students (left to right) Shreeya Gobinathan, Pranshu Patel, Yaohao Li and Sharon Shaju, who received their International Baccalaureate results on Monday.Credit:Scott McNaughon

The Werribee Secondary College student now hopes to study medicine or dentistry at university.

His grandfather, Suresh Patel, to whom he was very close, died of COVID-19 in India in April last year.

Pranshu Patel with his grandfather Suresh Patel in 2018.

Pranshu was touched when his grandmother Jyotshna reassured him on the phone from India on Monday that his grandfather “would have been really proud of you”.

“Deep down, I know he’s watching,” Pranshu said.

Werribee Secondary College deputy principal Helene Refuerzo said the school was very proud of its 27 students who undertook the IB diploma. Two students gained a score of 42, while nine achieved 33 or above.

Werribee Secondary College student Pranshu Patel.Credit:Scott McNaughton

Ashley Coats, chair of IB Schools Australasia, said Australian IB students’ overall average result was an impressive 37 points out of a possible 45, with a pass rate of 98 per cent. The global IB average is 32 points, with a pass rate of 87 per cent.

A total of 2644 Australian students in 86 secondary schools sat the IB diploma exams in November, and results were released to schools on Monday morning.

Mr Coats said 877 students achieved a score above 40, which was “exceptional”, especially given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said students, particularly in Victoria, had missed a lot of class time with teachers over the past two years.

The IB diploma is well established as an alternative to the VCE. Students complete it across years 11 and 12.

IB is offered in 153 countries as an academically challenging pre-university matriculation course and is recognised by overseas as well as local universities. Mr Coats said some universities offered IB students credit for subjects completed in their diploma.

Methodist Ladies’ College students (left to right) Irene Ma, Cassandra Stavrou, Chloe Taylor and Sophie Chiew. Credit:Scott McNaughton

Wesley College principal Nick Evans said eight of the school’s IB students had achieved perfect scores of 45, equivalent to an ATAR of 99.95.

At Methodist Ladies’ College, two IB students, Irene Ma and Cassandra Stavrou, achieved scores of 45.

A further nine students achieved an IB score of 44, equivalent to an ATAR of 99.75.

Dr Jennifer Bailey Smith, Methodist Ladies’ College head of senior school, said: “Our IB cohort of 49 students have faced the global pandemic with tenacity, grit and resolve.”

MLC student Chloe Taylor, 18, of Camberwell, who lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and wasn’t a big fan of schooling from home, said she was “very relieved and proud” to achieve a score of 43, equivalent to an ATAR score in VCE of 99.45.

She now wants to study environmental science in the United States, where she has relatives.

“With the arthritis and COVID, it was all very difficult, but I kept my head down and kept going because I didn’t want to give up on my dream to study in the States,” she said.

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